Johann Wofgang von Goethe Faust

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‘Faust’ by Goethe is a vast source for literary analysis as it contains numerous examples of techniques that are used in poetic language to communicate author’s thoughts and to impart a certain mood in its readers and watchers.

The structure of the selected piece of text is fragmentary with inserted author’s remarks which are often used in dramatic texts: ‘Oh good girl, All innocence! [Aloud]. And now farewell.’ (167). The sentences are laconic: ‘Do.’, ‘Farewell.’ (167), which suits somber and sarcastic tone of the whole text. It is conveyed to the readers through rather unusual and lofty vocabulary: ‘abhorred by God’(176) vs. ‘despised by God’; ‘turmoil’ (179) vs. ‘mess’; ‘atremble’ vs. ‘trembling’ (179), ‘physiognomy’ vs. ‘face’ (180). The lines of Mephistopheles, such as ‘The girl’s a goose! I hope she’s gone.’ (180), are combined with inspirational words of Faust: ‘You angel, you, atremble with foreboding’ (179).

Figurative language includes:

  • comparisons: ‘she cries as if brokenhearted’ (175);
  • metaphors: ‘the soul of beauty’ (175);
  • anaphoras:

‘My heart is heavy

My peace is gone’ (176);

  • alliterations: ‘they use the language that they know’ (179);
  • personifications: ‘my lips refuse to pray’ (180);
  • strong epithets: ‘you transcendental, hot and sensual Romeo’ (180).

The selected piece of text consists mostly of dialogue speech. Therefore, a lot of repeated phrases characterize it, for instance, ‘Eternal, yes, eternal, yes, undying’ (169), ‘and kiss and kiss him’ (177). Despite the elevated style applied throughout the text, idioms are used in the lines of main characters, such as ‘out of sight is out of mind’ (169). It is remarkable that sarcastic remarks of Mephistopheles are given in German: ‘Herr Professor’ (176).

Work Cited

Puchner, Martin, et al. The Norton Anthology World Literature. Vol. D. 3rd ed. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print.

June 14, 2022

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